Vampire Weekend offers three singles ahead of album ‘Only God Was Above Us’

Vampire Weekend offers three singles ahead of album ‘Only God Was Above Us’
Photo cred: Michael Schmelling

Fear not, indie pop lovers — Vampire Weekend is back and better than ever. The renowned rockers recently released three singles, “Capricorn”, “Gen-X Cops”, and “Classical” from their upcoming album Only God Was Above Us. The 10-track album is set to hit shelves and streaming sites on April 5th, 2024 (that’s right — only a few short days!!). If the sounds and structures of these promotional singles are any indication of the album to come, Only God Was Above Us is sure to be a successful next step in the evolution of Vampire Weekend’s uniquely curated sound. 

Vampire Weekend’s last album, Father of The Bride, was released in 2019 to high critical acclaim. Listeners and journalists alike applauded its tones of optimism and nostalgia, woven throughout various influences, such as jazz, lounge, and world music. After a healthy five-year break, the band made its way back to the studio to record Only God Was Above Us. On the structure of the upcoming album, frontman Ezra Koenig told The New York Times that it resembles “a journey from questioning to acceptance, maybe to surrender, from a kind of negative worldview to something a little deeper”.

Despite seemingly heavy themes, Koenig assured that ‘Only God Was Above Us’ is definitely “not a doom and gloom album” and fans can expect the musical brightness of their usual sound. 

Upon diving into the newly released singles, “Capricorn” feels like a warm blanket to any tried and true Vampire Weekend fan, calling to mind the iconic sounds of albums past. The guitar and piano lines are reminiscent of those in “Step” off of their third album, Modern Vampires of the City. This album heavily features the use of the piano as a melody maker, effortlessly layered in a menagerie of other instruments; similar themes and noisescapes can be heard in “Capricorn”. The lyrics and vocal melodies bear similarities to “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin” from Father of the Bride, with its serious and brooding tones. The writing on “Capricorn” echoes the themes of uncertainty and negativity aforementioned in Koenig’s interview: “Who builds the future? // Do they care why?” and “Too old for dyin’ young // Too young to live alone”. 

If “Capricorn” is representative of a classic Vampire Weekend sound, “Gen-X Cops” is an exciting peek into the world of what’s to come in the band’s musical progression. The song begins with a grating electric guitar over a heavy, deep bass line. This gives a darker, almost goth-like feel, reminiscent of 80s darkwave bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, or Joy Division. Still, “Gen-X Cops” paves its own way: the fast tempo and unique falsetto provides enough variability from the classic darkwave sound. The result is an interesting new hybrid of genres, combining the light, indie pop sounds of Vampire Weekend’s past with heavier tones and instruments. 

“Classical”, released last of the three promotional singles, is the sunniest sounding tune from the new album so far.

Complex bass and upbeat drum lines layer amongst melodic vocals and a shining saxophone solo. With the inclusion of this commanding horn feature, “Classical” is — without a doubt — the jazziest venture fans have seen from the band. Still, the song does not translate as solely jazz at all, maintaining indie pop characteristics signature of Vampire Weekend. 

As if the upcoming release of Only God Was Above Us wasn’t enough to get excited about, Vampire Weekend also debuted Vampire Campfire, a new podcast hosted by Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio, and Chris Tomson. These fireside chats act as casual discussions about the band’s creation, history, musical influences, and songwriting processes. The first episode of Vampire Campfire can be watched on Youtube here

If these singles are any indication of the trajectory of Vampire Weekend’s sound and musical maturity, fans should certainly be excited for the full album release. In support of Only God Was Above Us, out April 5th, Vampire Weekend is embarking on a United States tour. Tickets, as well as digital and vinyl album pre-orders, can be purchased via the links below or on their website.

Stream or pre-save ‘Only God Was Above Us’ album:

Vampire Weekend – “Capricorn”

Cover image by Michael Schmelling

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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